“Wow, you have beautiful eyes, are they yours?”
This was the question slash compliment from the cashier at Publix this morning.
“Thank you, yes they are, and so are the wrinkles,” I answered; covering up my inability to take a compliment by my self-deprecating humor.
It was not the first time I had that question but I am always surprised to hear it. After-all, I look through my eyes not at them.
Shopping this morning, my hair was in a ponytail, I was in a T-shirt, shorts and flip flops, not a speck of make-up on, and I had just taken off all my acrylic nails. You want to talk about a perfect disguise, it’s me unplugged.
I believe we all have a public side, the one we share with our children’s teachers, a potential boss during an interview, a first date. Who wouldn’t put their best foot forward?
Then there’s our personal side, the one our spouse sees, our kids, and our best friends. They are the ones who have seen me like this, along with witnessing my emotional breakdowns, many times and amazingly, they love me the same.
“You’re so real, so raw…” is another compliment I have heard once people read my first book, Beyond Breathing. If they could see the real, raw me now…oh, the horror!
The funny thing is about being a writer, I can be brutally honest with words, but be completely out of my comfort zone under the scrutiny of the public eye or an HD camera zooming in for a close-up.
I think we all can relate, one time or another, to misconceptions and perceptions of what is assumed of us and what is the real, authentic us.
This is real.
My 50-year-old blue eyes wear -4.0 strength, clear daily contacts for Astigmatism. Eye doc says I’m not a good candidate for Lasik surgery due to fluctuating muscle spasms in my eyes and says reading glasses are only a year or two away.
I have a hole in my heart, not the figurative hole that Jena left when she moved up to heaven, but an actual PFO, patent foramen ovale.
A little history, awhile back I had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) which is a mini-stroke. Through a series of tests with Neurologists and Cardiologists, it was determined that I had a blood clot that went to my brain (TIA) due to the (PFO) a.k.a. hole in my heart, and as it turns out, I also have hypertension for which I take blood thinners and beta-blockers.
My dermatologist has taken off 4 superficial basal cell carcinomas (a type of skin cancer) from my skin due to childhood sunburns. She says she’s impressed how calm I am as she cuts into my skin like swiss cheese. We have a standing date every 6 months.
I have had a complete lumpectomy and reconstruction in one breast due to multiple abnormal needle biopsies that concluded with the removal of a massive irregular fibroadenoma that ‘grew legs’ into my chest wall. I won’t tell you which one was done, as that is only for my husband, my oncologist, and my plastic surgeon to know. I’m just thankful I do not have breast cancer and both ‘girls’ got a lift in the process.
After a few visits to the ER for excruciating leg & back pain, the MRI concluded that I have severe central spinal stenosis, which my bone doc jokingly calls, “old lady back.” Damn whipper-snapper.
I have Celiac’s disease and am lactose intolerant. I don’t do gluten and I deal with dairy.
I eat healthy and work-out daily because I am tired of co-payments and doctor’s visits.
I absolutely love my family and friends and have forgiven those who hurt my heart.
I’ll never be able to comprehend the loss of my daughter to Cystic Fibrosis and I continue to live in the purest sense of awe I have for my son.
The strength I have is equal to the love and support that I am blessed with in my life, especially my husband Marc.
I wish I didn’t know hospitals, panic attacks, or funeral homes as well as I do. I work very hard at choosing to be positive, seeing the beauty in life, and loving with all my heart.
I write for therapy.
I laugh for sanity.
I cry for necessity.
I doubt you’ll ever see me as the Publix cashier did today, but if you do…I know you’ll know what’s behind my wrinkled, contact-wearing blue eyes.
There are always two sides, what you see and what is real, and both make you whole.
I remember once crying myself to sleep thinking I was never going to be “good enough” at ____ (fill in the blank). Then, through trial and error, I learned that by being raw and being real…I was and am…good enough.
We all are.